Property Australia

TikTok trendsetters and Insta-influencers

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal August 3, 2021

The world will spend a staggering 3.7 trillion hours on social media in 2021. Is it time for the property industry to jump on the latest TikTok trend?

According to Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 Report, half a billion people joined social media over the last year.

2-Aug-03-2021-03-36-02-31-AMFuelled by lockdowns and loneliness, people turned to technology and social media use surged by 13 per cent. After months of staring at our walls, it’s no surprise that TikTok’s hashtag #homedecor has received 9.8 billion views while #interiordesign boasts more than 6.2 billion.

There are now 4.48 billion people around the world – 57 per cent of the global population – flicking through Facebook, checking Instagram for inspiration or tapping into trends through TikTok.

We are witnessing a seismic shift in consumer buying behaviour, with even the biggest purchases most of us will make swayed by social media. Consider this: a recent survey from a US-based real estate agency found 44 per cent of Millennials are willing to buy a home based on listing photos alone.

040821 - Story 3 - DKO Gibbon Street 2

“Design trends can now instantaneously captivate with the ease of a hashtag or viral video,” says Alexia Brehas, senior social media director with marketing agency Harvey Taylor.

“But quantity can very quickly overtake quality in terms of social media trends,” Brehas warns.

Brehas manages social media for DKO Architecture. She suggests social media can help property companies to share their own “unique brand stories”. She points to a recent DKO campaign during NAIDOC Week. Just one Instagram post, which celebrated DKO’s social housing project, Gibbons Street, in Sydney’s Redfern, featured “stunning artwork” from the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative. The post was authentic and organic – “and was our highest performing post for the month,” Brehas notes.

“Rather than compulsively latching on to existing trends in the market, DKO has been able to develop an authentic, rapidly growing and engaged audience who is responsive to the unique architectural and design content posted across all of DKO's platforms.”

1-Aug-03-2021-03-35-55-53-AMDee Passenger, interiors manager with Cottee Parker Architects, has observed that social media-savvy buyers are “more conversant” with design trends and this “has the effect of lifting the design standard across the industry”.

“More clients and buyers are briefing us with imagery from social media, all of which is on-trend. Pictures are a very emotive communication tool that connect with people’s domestic and social ambitions. We learn a lot from them. We collect better briefings from buyers and end uses as a result – and we can incorporate those learnings into our next projects,” Passenger notes.

But the social media landscape moves at lightspeed. “Where luxury used to be about entertaining and presenting, the last 18 months has seen an escape is to rustic, tactile, warm and comforting styling,” Passenger says. “This is pushing perceptions of ‘good design’ or luxury away from high end finishes toward privacy and warm earthy styling. The new breed of celebrities are certainly reinforcing this trend.”

Insta-interior designers who share images of their Pinterest-worthy work to millions are, in some cases, earning million dollar incomes to match.

Flow apartments, with architecture and interiors by Cottee Parker Architects, was launched at the end of June 2020 and fully sold within four months, “due in part to its omni-channel marketing campaign,” Passenger says.

“While most of the country was in and out of lockdowns, the enticing renders imagined an idyllic beachfront lifestyle and were splashed across social media channels enticing many buyers to make contact and purchase apartments. “

The quality of the imagery – or “design visualisations” as Passenger calls it – is as important as the designs themselves, as they are “broadcast across a multitude of social media and streaming channels, accelerating competition to land on the next big thing”.

But is chasing the “next big thing” a good thing?

“It’s great to have an informed buyer, but it doesn’t change the fact that spaces need to be curated and tailored to suit individuals,” Passenger says. “Having a two-way dialogue between a designer and a client is still the best way to come to a shared appreciation of their desires and needs.”

Australians are avid social media users, with 79.7 per cent of us active on social media. Are we reaching social media saturation?

Brehas says this question “quickly becomes irrelevant if a brand remains true to its own integrity rather than posting for posting's sake or replicating a trend because it is currently popular”.

“Replicating existing trends only serves to add your voice to an existing digital cacophony. True creative power lies in the ability to create trends and inspire people, rather than respond to existing trends.”